Published on in Digital Transformation

In an era of ever increasing complexity, it’s important to keep things simple.

That’s why more and more customers are moving towards hyper-converged IT systems, especially for big data database systems.

They’re easy to consume, and this makes them a great option. But it’s important to remember that they don’t provide a comprehensive answer to all data management challenges.

You have to really work at developing a back-up strategy fit for the digital world. I recently touched on this on stage in the Fujitsu Forum event alongside Frank Reichart, Senior Director Product Marketing for Fujitsu Global at Fujitsu Forum 2018.

This co-presentation was the embodiment of this year’s theme, which was ‘co-creation for success’.

In this blog post, I’m going to summarise the key points from our talk. Hopefully it will help you to find your own success in the area of data management.

The new world of data

As my colleague Harald noted in his Forum TV interview, “data is the new currency in the age of digitalisation”.

Customers are on a journey from traditional to digital, and this brings an increase in the amount of data – right at the time it’s becoming more valuable.

Every organisation is engaged in a continuous fight for the security of their data, and this includes managing it correctly so that none is corrupted, misplaced or accidentally deleted.

You need to take a smart approach to the back-up and recovery of your data, because you can’t afford to lose it – it’s the most important asset you have.

Managing data properly starts when you understand it. If you have a clear overview of what’s in your data, you will be able to leverage its full value.

And, of course, good data management is better from a cost efficiency point of view – not least because it will ensure you don’t suffer any penalties due to non-compliance.

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Andreas Bechter presenting at Fujitsu Forum 2018

Simplicity is beautiful

Over the past few years, there has been an emerging trend towards simplified IT systems.

This means a move away from classic IT ‘build-your-own’ servers with databases, and towards a hyper-converged approach.

Hyper-converged is simpler because everything you need to unlock the value of using the database is already provided, no need to first get your head around bringing different hardware and software components together.

Using the classic system is like going to a supermarket, buying ingredients, looking up a recipe and then making a meal from scratch. By contrast, the hyper-converged is ordering a meal from a menu.

On a ‘build-your-own’ you have to deal with all the component dependencies and that adds complexity, which means a lot of management tasks on your shoulders. So, it’s unsurprising that we’ve seen a real trend moving away from build-your-own towards hyperconvergence.

Frank spoke about the journey that Fujitsu has been on, from a provider of classical build-your-own to hyper-converged systems.

We’ve always been an advocate for simplicity. In our 23-year partnership, we’ve spent quite a bit of time beating the drum to make our joint solutions integrated and easy to use for our customers.

Together we announced the availability of the Fujitsu PRIMEFLEX for Microsoft AzureStack and backup support solution with Veritas NetBackup, based on our new Parallel Streaming Framework. But we also spoke about other offerings like PrimeFlex for Nutanix, PrimeFlex for VMware VSAN and more.

Hyper-converged systems like this are much easier to consume and roll out into the data centre – but it’s important to have a back-up system in place, as we will discuss.

Hyper-converged can’t do everything

When it comes to data protection in hyper-converged platforms, there’s good news and bad news.

The good news: hyper-converged platforms come with some built in protection capabilities in the system. This is usually protecting you against a node failure or failure of some disk as the data is stored in multiple copies of the same blocks spread across the system redundantly.

The bad news: the build in redundancy mechanisms don´t protect you from human errors like accidental deletion or accidental data corruption. Big Data databases are rather new in many organizations and not every query or database operation produces the expected results. Making mistakes is part of learning new systems.

This means you need a backup strategy on top of the protection built into the hyper-converged infrastructure. One that also scales with your systems and provides the backup and restore performance that you need and expect.

We have developed a new technology called “Parallel Streaming Framework” which exactly addresses your needs for simplicity, performance and scale. The best thing about this system is that you don’t need to install any agents onto your Hyperconverged Big Data system (like e.g. Hadoop) and that means you don´t have to fear version dependencies preventing you from upgrades of your hyperconverged infrastructure or risks of instabilities because of an additional component installed onto your system.

All you need is a Plug-in unlocking the capabilities in our software for your hyperconverged system of choice which is applied against the backup system. And since this plug-in is version independent of your backup software version you don´t need to worry about going through a major upgrade hassle of your backup infrastructure in order to be able to protect your hyperconverged systems for Big Data databases or virtual infrastructure.

Bring your back-up strategy into the digital age

How can organisations future-proof their data management strategy?

We have three tips:

  1. Take a holistic approach – the landscape is complex enough, so simplify whenever possible. Taking a straightforward approach to infrastructure and backup will save not only time and money, but stress and confusion.
  2. Choose vendors who are innovative – innovation is key to driving the best results, and a vendor that adopts an open, innovative approach will be best placed to develop the right solution for you. Even a small operational improvement can make a difference in the digital world.
  3. Commit to partnerships – The world is moving faster, and the market is growing in complexity. In this environment it’s becoming more and more important to form meaningful collaborative partnerships, because it’s too complicated to do anything alone. Together we are stronger.

Backup made simple means one less thing to worry about

Businesses today depend on their data. It’s your most important resource – so you need to look after it.

Hyper-converged infrastructure does offer some built-in protection, but not enough to really give you peace of mind.

That’s why it’s so important to combine the simplicity of the hyper-converged system like the ones that Fujitsu offer with their PrimeFlex series with the certainty offered by a specialised backup – just like Veritas NetBackup.

In combining the two, you can guarantee that your business has a backup strategy fit for the digital world.

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